Sept. 23 – CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Despite a much-improved effort from the Terrier defense, the Hiram College football team dropped a tight, 25-21, decision to Wabash College on Saturday afternoon.
Despite being two of the four top scoring teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference, the Terriers and Little Giants found themselves in a defensive struggle in the scoring department. Hiram held Wabash, the second-best scoring offense in the conference, to 23 points under their average, while the Terriers were held to a season-low 21 points.
The Terriers opened the game with a flurry, running out to a 14-0 lead on the conference's top defense.
Hiram scored on their opening possession, using an eight-play, 74-yard drive to find pay dirt. Junior quarterback Randy Tucker connected on two long pass plays; hitting Jaris Foreman for 24 yards, before finding Luther Fortson III for 27 more.
Following the second long completion, senior running back Danny Robinson took advantage of some running room, scampering in from nine yards out.
The Terrier defense held Wabash down through their first two possessions. Following a three-and-out, Hiram special teams came up big as Dominick Medina blocked a punt that was recovered by Torin Mayhew at the Wabash 15-yard line.
Hiram would need just three plays to find the end zone a second time as Tucker connected with senior CJ Maner from 12-yards out to give the Terriers a 14-0 advantage.
Wabash would control the rest of the half from there, rattling off 16 unanswered points, including a 53-yard passing TD from Weston Murphy, and a blocked punt of their own that turned into a safety.
The final score of the half also came from Wabash as Tyler Downing capped a seven-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown to give the Little Giants a 16-14 lead at the break.
Hiram had an answer out of the half, pouncing on a Little Giant fumble on the kickoff. From there, Hiram used nine plays and found the end zone on a one-yard run by Isaiah Jones on a fourth-and-one. The score gave the Terriers back the advantage, 21-16.
The difference in the game came in the fourth quarter, as Wabash outscored the Terriers 9-0 in the final stanza to take the four-point win.
Trailing in the late stages of the third, the host Little Giants embarked on an eight-play, 53-yard drive that spanned the third and fourth quarters. Wabash was aided by a pass interference penalty on the Terriers, before running back Ike James scored from one-yard out to give Wabash the lead, 22-21.
The most penalized team in the conference, Hiram once again did themselves no favors as they were flagged 11 times for 124 yards. They entered the contest averaging 117 yards per game in infractions.
Following the touchdown, the Terriers drove to the Wabash 44-yard line, but had their drive stall and were forced to punt. The Little Giants blocked the punt for the second time in the game, recovering the ball at the Terrier 48.
In addition to the block, a personal foul penalty on Hiram moved the ball to the 33-yard line, where Wabash would start their drive.
The defense allowed just 20 yards to the Little Giants' offense, but the good field position enabled the hosts to convert on a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead to 25-21.
On Hiram's final possession, senior running back Danny Robinson broke a 50-yard run down to the Wabash one-yard line. However, a holding penalty on the Terriers negated the play and Hiram was forced to punt with 4:32 left.
With no timeouts left, Hiram was unable to stop the clock as Wabash ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Offensively, Robinson led the way for the Terriers. The former First-Team All-NCAC selection totaled 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Foreman also played well, averaging 21.0 yards per catch on the afternoon. Tucker, meanwhile, finished 15-of-28 for 182 yards and a TD.
Hiram will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 30 as they travel to Meadville, Pa. for a bout with Allegheny. The matchup with the Gators is set for 5 p.m.